Original discussion Question: Describe how you think contracting fits into the acquisition process. Feel free to use some of your own experiences and examples.
STUDENT 1 Reply:
The primary objective of Defense acquisition is to acquire quality products that satisfy user needs with measurable improvements to mission capability and operational support, in a timely manner, and at a fair and reasonable price. (DoD Directive 5000.01)
Contracting for the government is done by a straight forward and regulated process allowing for an acquisition strategy tailored to the project and achieving satisfaction of the end user at a fair and reasonable price in the least amount of time possible. Contracting requires that the who, what, when, where, how, and how much is laid out and everyone is on the same page no surprise. To change this a good reason must be presented and approved. Holds both party’s feet to the fire to perform as stated because the contract can be upheld legally
Contracting fits into the acquisition process because it allows for innovation and flexibility needed to design, engineer, test and evaluate, produce, operate and support a defense system like weapons, information technology and services. Contracting lays out the exact requirements and milestone to be met by both the Government and the contractor.
Contracting spells out how these requirement and milestone will be measured, and puts a timeline in place to make sure that requirements are met in the shortest amount of time possible and meet the needs of the war fighter. A contract puts in writing what is required of both parties and both understand and agree, it minimizes the risk to both parties. It promotes competition, and gives the government more buying power.
Contracting is completely integrated into the government acquisitions process.Contracting enters the process as early, as the request for information (RFI).This is when, a federal organization demonstrates a general need and wants to know what the contractors in the private market can provide.In return, contractors in the private industry reply with information which helps to create a more focused acquisition request.The federal organization then produces a request for proposal.This states the specific need for an acquisition.The private sector then competes to provide certain criteria.
The criteria covers things such as best value, lowest price technically acceptable, and others.The federal organization then selects the proposal, which best meets their criteria, and the contract is acquired.Contracting is integrated into the acquisitions process at every level.It goes well above an organization acquiring a specific contract.Contracting companies are involved in the acquisitions even at the budgetary level.I have eaten lunch with a Boeing lobbyist whose job was to push members of congress towards a higher budget approval.Everything in the acquisitions process is intertwined with contracting.
STUDENT 2 Reply:
Contracting exists because organizations need to acquire products and services, through acquisitions.Contracting and acquisitions cannot exist by themselves.They function in a symbiotic relationship.If nothing needs to be acquired, then there are no contracts.If there were no contracting, then what would the acquisitions process pursue?The relationship between the two follows the basic principles of supply and demand.Acquisitions are the supply and contracting is the demand.
If you were to think of contracting and acquisitions from a business perspective, then they are no different than a product and a consumer.The difference between contracting and acquisitions is the perspective through which it is viewed.Contractors represent the business and the federal sector consumes the business output, through acquisitions.
STUDENT 3 Reply:
Contracting is an agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law or the writing or document containing such an agreement. With that said, contracting is everywhere in the acquisition process. In the very early stages its is in the first phase, when identifying the missions need. Second Phase, when putting plans into action and also the third phase when, planning and actions become the contract award and management of that contract. During the research process, it all starts with the FAR ad identifying all the key legal regulations.
Along with the FAR there is the supplement, DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement), the DFARS contains requirements of law, DoD-wide policies, delegations of FAR authorities, deviations from FAR requirements, and policies/procedures that have a significant effect on the public. Deeper into the acquisition process, the selection of hat contract to use is very critical for management of the contract and funding dollars. The two major contract types are a fixed or cost type, fixed type contracts impose more risk on the contractor since they do not recover in cost overrun scenarios, while cost-type contracts reimburse for an allowable incurred cost.
As mentioned before, identifying the missions needs of your organization is the first step in the acquisition process, it is a can be taxing especially if things are getting worse than better. In order to fix a current or recurring problem, youmust ensure that you have met all federal rules and regulations and systematically cross check the regulations as you go through the acquisition process, or it might be a lot of work for nothing.